One of my favorite Italian dishes is Risotto. Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is cooked with ingredients and technique designed to produce an extremely creamy bowl of down right comfort food. Although the technique is not difficult, it does require some time, as you add the liquids half a cup at a time while stirring constantly. This means that you are going to be at the stove actively doing something for about 20 minutes, but the final result is so worth it. Risotto can be made with almost any vegetable or plain. My favorite risotto, however, is Mushroom risotto. I love when the mushroom flavor is dominant in the risotto, so, I use mushrooms in four ways. I started with rehydrating some dried Porcini mushrooms, because dried mushrooms pack a ton of flavor. Next, I used some Cremini mushrooms as my fresh mushroom. I sautéed that with the rehydrated Porcini mushrooms. Then, I used the water that the dried Porcini mushrooms soaked in and infused with flavor. Finally, I used Mushroom stock. The dried Porcini mushrooms and Mushroom Bouillon are very difficult to find in your local grocery store. You would need to get it from a specialty store or follow the links I have to get them online from Amazon.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
6 Cremini mushrooms, diced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I use Chardonnay.)
2 cubes Mushroom Bouillon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper
¼ stick butter
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate for about 15 minutes..
In the meantime, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil for 3 minutes.
Add fresh Cremini mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
Drain rehydrated mushrooms through a strainer, keeping water. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the rice and mix in well for 2 minutes.
Add wine, deglaze the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon, and cook while stirring until the wine has disappeared.
Melt the mushroom bouillon cubes in 6 cups of boiling water, set aside.
Add the rehydrated mushroom water, bring to a boil, lower heat, and keep stirring rice mix until absorbed.
Add mushroom stock, half cup at a time, and cook slowly until rice is done, adding in boiling stock gradually, half cup at a time. This part takes patience. You have to stay on top of it and make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan. When you see the water almost fully absorb, add another half cup. This process takes about 20 minutes. (If you run out of stock, continue adding boiled water until rice is cooked.) DO NOT let the rice fully absorb the water. Remove from heat right before it fully absorbs the last 1/2 cup of stock.
Once your rice is cooked through, mix in butter and let it melt well in the rice while stirring.
When the butter is melted, add heavy whipping cream and stir well. Serve immediately. You can top it off with Parmesan cheese or shaved truffles.